Refrigerants Australia executive director, Greg Picker, shares some good news data which proves how successful the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) industry has been in reducing emissions.

As a major sponsor of CCN Live, Refrigerants Australia was pleased to provide information on the successes of the refrigeration and air conditioning industry in dramatically reducing its environmental footprint. In the information exchange session that followed, a couple of people asked how RA could be both positive and certain that we are making a difference for the better. Let’s explore the progress made:

1. Between the early 1990s and 2036 refrigerant GWP emissions will drop by 98%. CSIRO and Australian Government figures are absolutely clear about how the transition of refrigerants has positively impacted the environment. In the early 1990s, greenhouse gas emissions from refrigerantswere greater than 80million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year in Australia. This figure is not surprising when considering the GWPs of CFCS: CFC 12, for example, has a GWP of 10, 600! Arguably the replacement of R134a (with a GWP of 1,430) from CFC12 in car air conditioners – coupled with modern systems that leak far less – was the most effective single measure ever taken to reduce global emissions.

As a result of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and the Ozone Protection legislation, which put in place legally binding targets to support the phase-down of high GWP HFCs, consumption will reduce to less than 2 million tonnes by 2036.  On any standard the reduction in refrigerant emissions is stunning, and something for which the industry can be justifiably proud.

2. Air conditioning and refrigeration equipment is 60% more efficient than it was at the start of the millennium. The data here is even more straightforward. In preparing for the latest Minimum Energy Performance Standards for equipment, an independent consultant was hired by the Department of Environment and Energy to test what could be done to further improve energy efficiency and what had been achieved to date.

The results – which are all publicly available on - were clear. MEPs and energy labels have had a tremendous and positive impact in improving the efficiency of equipment. Today’s equipment is 40% more efficient than a decade ago and 60% more efficient than 20 years ago. This conclusion is also clear when an analysis is undertaken of the changes in peak energy demand over the past decade: even though air conditioning has grown by over 70% in this period, peak energy demand has largely flatlined.

The only conclusion is today’s equipment is markedly more efficient than that sold only a decade ago and extraordinarily more efficient than systems in use twenty years ago. Hopefully the introduction of a new energy label, which includes details on which equipment works best in each of Australia’s climate zones, will help people choose even more efficient equipment for their homes and offices.

3. The RAC industry is delivering better service for itself, its customers and the environment.


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